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Wall Street Journal Crashed-and-Burned Watch (James Fallows on Fouad Ajami and Paul Gigot Edition)

Obama Buys Airtime in Arizona

John Dickerson of Slate says that McCain campaign pollster Bill McInturff's declaration that the race is effectively tied is somewhere between truth and self-delusion. Chris Cilizza does not buy that at all:

Who's Got The Momentum? - The Fix: [Rick] Davis cited Iowa, where Obama is expected to visit today, and where McCain's internal numbers showed the race dead even. (An independent poll out this morning shows Obama leading McCain 53 percent to 39 percent in the Hawkeye State.)... Obama remains very much in the driver's seat heading into the final weekend of the race.... Republicans have seized on the new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll that showed Obama leading McCain by a 47 percent to 44 percent margin.... The general trend in national polling suggests some level of tightening but nothing that would point to a major change in momentum for McCain. The average of all national polls -- the full chart is below -- puts Obama at 49.7 percent and McCain at 44.2 percent.

The evidence against a McCain "surge" is even more determinative when it comes to the battleground states. Take Indiana for example. Yesterday alone, two new independent polls in Indiana showed the race dead even -- one by Selzer & Co. and the other by Research 2000. Asked about the tightness of Indiana, Davis cited a new Rasmussen poll out today that put McCain ahead 49 percent to 46 percent. But, remember that George W. Bush carried Indiana by 21 points in 2004 and 16 points in 2000. The very idea that Indiana is shaping up to be a nip and tuck race seems to belie the Republican argument that things are moving in McCain's direction in the final days.... [N]atural tightening does not equal momentum. At least not yet.